Akwa Ibom State Government has sealed off the premises of the Christ Embassy Church, Uyo, for allegedly flouting guidelines for reopening of churches in the state.
This followed alleged attack on members of the Monitoring Team who visited the church to monitor compliance on Sunday
The Secretary to the state government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem who announced the sealing of the church premises in a statement on Sunday expressed dismay at the action of the pastors and members of the church
“Today, Sunday 21 June, 2020, the Akwa Ibom State Government and Christian Association of Nigeria Monitoring Team, while on a routine compliance/inspection visit to the Christ Embassy Church, Nung Akpa Ime branch, State House of Assembly Road, off Nsikak Eduok Avenue to enforce the Akwa Ibom State government/Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, World Health Organisation, Christian Association Guidelines and Protocols adopted to prevent community spreading of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic in Akwa Ibom State, were obstructed, attacked and brutalized by the Pastors and some members of the church.
“In response to this act of lawlessness by that church and in order to avoid the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 in Akwa Ibom State, the Christ Embassy Church building and premises are hereby sealed up with immediate effect till further notice.
“The suspected Pastors and relevant members of the church will be made to face the wrath of the law” the statement said
Our Correspondent reports that trouble stated when the monitoring team for Uyo led by Prince Enobong Uwah, a former commissioner arrived the premises of the church at about 11AM having gone around six other churches in the metropolis.
It was gathered that the team was stoutly resisted entrance into the premises by the pastors and members who came on sighting members of the team and blocked the gate
Sources said that all entreaties by the Monitoring Team fell on deaf ears as the church members held on to the gate.
Recalled that the church leadership had in press conference in Uyo, declared that the COVID-19 guidelines issued by the government were not practicable and therefore unacceptable.
They said such guidelines cannot be binding on the church because it is not a member of the Christian Association of Nigeria
The church blamed CAN for acting within the limit of it leadership and the state government for not consulting widely before issuing the guidelines, adding that the use of face masks throughout the Congregational worship exposes worshippers to health hazards while the limit of seat to not more than 200 members at a time is an attempt to gag the church